Manuka Honey and diabetes

Manuka Honey and Diabetes

Manuka honey has gained popularity in recent years due to its potential health benefits. One area of interest is its impact on diabetes, a chronic condition affecting millions of people worldwide. In this article, we will explore the relationship between manuka honey and diabetes, focusing on its potential effects, benefits, and considerations for individuals with diabetes.

Manuka Honey: An Overview

Before delving into the relationship between manuka honey and diabetes, it is essential to understand what manuka honey is and how it differs from regular honey. Manuka honey is produced by bees that collect nectar from the flowers of the manuka bush (Leptospermum scoparium), native to New Zealand. This honey is prized for its unique properties, including its strong antibacterial activity.

Manuka honey contains a compound called methylglyoxal (MGO), which is responsible for its antibacterial effects. The level of MGO in manuka honey is measured and graded using the Unique Manuka Factor (UMF) rating system. The higher the UMF rating, the higher the concentration of MGO and the stronger the antibacterial activity.

Manuka Honey and Diabetes: Potential Effects

1. Glycemic Index and Blood Sugar Control

The glycemic index (GI) is a measure of how quickly a food raises blood sugar levels. Foods with a high GI are rapidly digested and absorbed, causing a spike in blood sugar levels. On the other hand, foods with a low GI are digested and absorbed more slowly, leading to a more gradual increase in blood sugar.

Manuka honey has a lower GI compared to regular honey and other sweeteners like sugar. This means that it is digested and absorbed more slowly, resulting in a slower and more controlled rise in blood sugar levels. For individuals with diabetes, this can be beneficial in managing blood sugar control.

2. Anti-Inflammatory Properties

Inflammation plays a crucial role in the development and progression of diabetes. Chronic inflammation can impair insulin function and contribute to insulin resistance, a hallmark of type 2 diabetes. Manuka honey has been found to possess anti-inflammatory properties, which may help reduce inflammation in individuals with diabetes.

Studies have shown that manuka honey can decrease the production of pro-inflammatory markers and increase the production of anti-inflammatory markers in cells and animal models. While more research is needed to determine its specific effects on diabetes-related inflammation in humans, these findings are promising.

3. Wound Healing and Diabetic Ulcers

Individuals with diabetes are at a higher risk of developing wounds and ulcers that are slow to heal. This is due to impaired blood flow, nerve damage, and compromised immune function associated with the condition. Manuka honey has been used for centuries as a natural remedy for wound healing.

The antibacterial properties of manuka honey, particularly its high levels of MGO, help prevent infection in wounds. Additionally, manuka honey promotes a moist wound environment, which is essential for optimal healing. It also stimulates the growth of new tissue and accelerates the wound healing process.

Manuka Honey and Diabetes: Considerations

While manuka honey shows potential benefits for individuals with diabetes, it is essential to consider a few factors:

1. Portion Control and Moderation

Despite its potential health benefits, manuka honey is still a sweetener and a source of carbohydrates. Individuals with diabetes should consume it in moderation and be mindful of portion sizes to avoid excessive intake of sugar. Consultation with a healthcare professional or a registered dietitian can help determine the appropriate amount of manuka honey for an individual’s dietary needs and blood sugar management.

2. Individual Variations

The effects of manuka honey on blood sugar levels can vary among individuals. Factors such as insulin sensitivity, overall diet, and individual response to different foods can influence how manuka honey affects blood sugar control. Regular monitoring of blood sugar levels and consultation with a healthcare professional are essential to determine the individual’s response to manuka honey.

3. Quality and Authenticity

To reap the potential health benefits of manuka honey, it is crucial to choose a high-quality, authentic product. Look for manuka honey with a reputable UMF rating, indicating its antibacterial activity and quality. Avoid products that may be diluted or adulterated with other sugars or syrups.


Manuka honey offers potential benefits for individuals with diabetes, particularly in terms of glycemic control, anti-inflammatory properties, and wound healing. However, it is important to consume manuka honey in moderation and consider individual variations in blood sugar response. Choosing a high-quality, authentic product is also essential to ensure the desired health benefits. As with any dietary changes or additions, individuals with diabetes should consult with a healthcare professional for personalized advice and guidance. Manuka honey can be a part of a balanced diet and diabetes management plan when used appropriately.

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